Accused of throwing pet rabbit into Liffey


A man accused of throwing a homeless man’s pet rabbit into the river Liffey will appear again in court next week to face prosecution for animal cruelty and torture.

John Byrne (39), who had spent the previous 22 years living on the streets, had been sitting on O’Connell Bridge for 10 days when his pet rabbit, Barney, was thrown into the Liffey on July 3rd, 2011.

Hundreds watched as he risked his own life and went into the river to save Barney; both were subsequently rescued by the Dublin Fire Brigade. Gary Kearney (20) with an address at Conyngham Road, Dublin, was later charged under the Protection of Animals Act in connection with the incident.

The charge states that it is alleged he “did cruelly torture or terrify an animal, to wit did throw a rabbit into the river Liffey from O’Connell Bridge”, on July 3rd last year.

His case had its 14th court listing yesterday, but Judge Cormac Dunne heard Mr Kearney was not present for the hearing. Defence solicitor Michael Kelleher explained that his client was serving a sentence in St Patrick’s Institution.